Pacesetters gain distance on field
One has broken away, another is nipping at its heels in second place, a third is almost on the pace, a midfield peloton is holding steady and the stragglers have fallen off the pace.
No, it’s not a cycling road race – it’s a summary of Horsham District Football Netball League as teams enter round-10 games this weekend.
Southern Mallee Giants are playing a catch-us-if-you-can game as they continue to storm ahead of the competition, with Harrow-balmoral and Jeparit-rainbow appearing the only serious challengers to their domination.
The distance that separates the Giants and much of the field will be never more obvious than on Saturday when the northern powerhouse opens the gates at Beulah to welcome Edenhope-apsley.
Edenhope-apsley might be resting in fifth position on the ladder after a mighty win over Pimpinio and contemplating securing a finals position.
But that doesn’t mean it won’t cop a hiding itself this Saturday.
The Giants had one of their best challenges for a while in a clash with Natimuk United last week but still managed to win by 64 points, a 43-point first-quarter lead putting the result beyond doubt.
This time it was Ben Webster, Lou White, Leigh Stewart and Zac Robins who led the best-player cards and this week it might be a different group – such is the depth of the Giants.
Dan Richardson, Jason Rae and Lachie Middleton led the way for Edenhope-apsley last week and George Walker bagged eight goals.
But can they reproduce the form against such high-quality opponents?
Slick Harrow-balmoral might think it has the speed to eventually topple the Giants but will have to wait, and in the short term must overcome a Natimuk United side desperate for success.
The Rams failed to score in the first quarter last week but tried valiantly through coach Sam Anson, veteran Simon Mentz and Callum Cameron to get back into the game.
Sorry United, but it is going to be a carbon copy at Balmoral on Saturday.
The Southern Roos toyed with Swifts last week, bounding home to a 118-point victory as Eric Guthrie, Nick Pekin, six-goal Hugh Douglas and Hamish Ellis had a day out. Let’s not forget that James Staude also kicked four goals.
Good news for the Rams is that it appears it won’t take too many wins to secure a place in the top six, so they must persist.
Third-placed Jeparit-rainbow, meanwhile, still picking bits of Laker from its teeth after a 255-point drubbing of Taylors Lake, will find going tougher against Kalkee at Kalkee.
The Storm is looming as a serious contender for end-of-season accolades, while Hamish Exell’s Kees are wandering thereabouts in the middle of the pack.
The Kees fell just short of being 10 goals better than Noradjuha-quantong last week with the likes of Exell, Matt Nield and Hugo Papst leading the way as Ben Lawson and Jasper Gunn kicked eight goals between them.
The Storm – well, what can you say when a team almost kicks 40 goals and finishes a game with 67 scoring shots to seven?
Taylors Lake could do little against such firepower but can make other teams work hard and that’s what it will attempt to do against Laharum this week.
Swifts will also get a chance to bounce back, against Noradjuha-quantong at Quantong and Rupanyup will get some respite from a tough season against Pimpinio.
Pimpinio won’t be so lucky but, like the Lakers, will continue to fly the flag for dedicated supporters.
IN THE MIX: Kalkee’s Jace Monaghan in action against Noradjuha-quantong’s Lockie Wilson.